Happy New Year blog-readers! After the busy mania of the festive season, and a wonderful holiday on the Norfolk coast (with no internet), our purposeful adventure continues. We’ve arrived safe and sound in Essex, and we’re into our first week on the core team at Othona, Bradwell-on-sea. There’s a lot to do. Once we’ve found our feet and got into a rhythm, I’ll be able to put together a post introducing you to this wonderful corner of England. Until then, Adrian (my husband) has stepped in as Jolly Quaker’s first guest blogger. Nearly six months into our travels, one of the most frequently asked questions we encounter is something along the lines of “how are you paying for it all?” In his first post Adrian will address this most practical of questions:
A practical question
To start with we were in a ‘privileged’ position – without any of the ‘ties’ which legitimately prevent people from embarking on such a journey. We have no mortgage, car, children, pets or credit card debts!
Secondly we continued to earn after out regular monthly outgoings had stopped. Our last rent and household bills for our flat in London came in mid-late July. We received our final paychecks August. And we also received our full deposit back from our London flat (£910) and refunds on gym membership (£225).
Thirdly, and perhaps most significantly we have received overwhelming generosity from our families, friends and host communities. In the last six months we have only paid for four nights accommodation (two in New York City, and two in Cape Cod). All the rest has been generously provided including the holiday cottage in Norfolk from where I now write. In addition to gifts ‘in kind’ (accommodation, storage space, lifts, the use of vehicles, meals etc.) we also received some very generous cash donations (in dollars, and pounds) which were gratefully received and carefully spent.
Of course, we have still spent a significant amount of money – primarily on travel and groceries. We saved up for this reason and are living frugally. And we could not continue indefinitely in this manner. As members of the core team at Othona Bradwell we’ll receive a modest stipend in addition to ‘bed & board’ – so after a few short months without salaries, we will be earning once again. And beyond August, we hope to secure regular salaried employment in our chosen fields of work – and re-join the ranks of the income tax payers!
Living on grace
One very positive aspect of giving up our jobs (and therefore our income) is it makes it much easier to accept gifts graciously, without feeling indebted to the giver. You can’t earn a gift! When you rely on the kindness of friends, relatives and strangers, you see God at work in the world in a whole new way. Friends and strangers alike have shared their admiration for what we are doing – to us it is not that remarkable. We have no regrets and would encourage anyone even vaguely considering doing something similar to think practically about making it happen.